Too many unknowns to get a clear picture
The three hours of today’s free practice were incident packed here at Montreal’s “Gilles Villeneuve” circuit. The two Ferrari 150ºs were solidly in the top four places on the time sheet throughout both sessions that kicked off the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, the seventh round of the season. Fernando Alonso was fastest in FP2 having been second in FP1, while Felipe Massa was fourth in FP1 and third in the afternoon.
“As usual on a Friday, the times don’t mean much because we don’t know what programme the others were running and especially because rain is forecast for Sunday: the data acquired today could turn out to be of not much use. We followed our programme, trying out the different types of tyre and various aerodynamic solutions. It was definitely one of our best Fridays – it does not happen often that we see our cars in the top five places – but it is true we were also quickest on both Thursday and Saturday morning in Monaco and then, in qualifying, we found ourselves nine tenths down on the Red Bull: that’s when they show their true potential and that’s why they are still our main rivals, along with McLaren and Mercedes, who seem to be very strong here.
We saw various accidents, probably when drivers were working on long runs. It’s hard to drive in these conditions and then there are three or four places here where the slightest error sees you end up in the wall. In the race, I expect the safety car will play a part. Once again, it looks like the Soft tyres should suit us and so too does the new Medium compound, which is due to make its debut in Valencia and which, even if I only did five laps on them, gave me a good feeling. This track could allow us to exploit the DRS more than at others: between turns ten and twelve and then on the pit straight, I think it will work well in the race. Unfortunately the red flags hindered me on my runs with the Supersofts and in the end, we had to modify our programme, switching to gathering as much data as possible from both cars running different fuel loads.”
“It was a good day, maybe the best Friday since the start of the season. The car seems competitive and the balance wasn’t bad for a first day of practice. Obviously, it’s only Friday so it is difficult to have a clear picture of the situation, partly because we don’t know if our competitors are trying different things, but I am reasonably pleased. Unfortunately, because of the red flags, I wasn’t able to use the Supersofts the way I would have liked, so I concentrated on the long run with the appropriate fuel load on board. The fact we can use the moveable rear wing at two points on the track definitely helps for overtaking. The tyres are working well and the degradation is not excessive, so I don’t think we will see that many pit stops during the race. However, we have to take into account there is a very high threat of rain for Sunday, so we could end up having a wet race.”
Our car seems reasonably competitive at this track
“These days there are few moments to catch your breath during Friday’s two free practice sessions because you are always trying to reconcile the car’s development programme with the normal tasks of a race weekend, which include finding the best set-up on the car and comparing the two types of tyre available. Here, we also had the new Medium compound from Pirelli to test for the forthcoming European Grand Prix and, on top of that, the many red flags significantly slowed down the planned programme, for us and I imagine for everyone else as well. Therefore, it is harder than ever to interpret the results, especially as practically no one managed to get the most out of the Supersofts. From the little we can understand, our car seems reasonably competitive at this track. Rain is forecast for Sunday: it’s a further unknown to keep in mind when it comes to making the final decision as to set-up.”